Worth it All

Have you ever had that small voice in your head that just says, "THIS is why you do what you do?"

Maybe I'm the only crazy one that "hears" that from time to time...

I don't doubt being Mom and doing the "mom" things...and I'm reminded constantly of this with that voice when I watch my girls make choices of which I am so proud & grateful...

Photography on the other hand...I'll be honest...I wonder...

there are sooo many photographers out there...in our area...I'm just a small speck on the map...do I even make a difference?  is it worth it?

And then I meet up with the families...

We talk and interact, I joke with their kids, I hug and laugh and sometimes even cry...

The next thing I know, it's been 3 years and their son is graduating and heading off to college and my heart is riding the roller coaster along with "mom"...because we've invested just a bit into each other...

It's not really more than about 30-45 minutes for a session...it's a brief moment of time...
but, in that moment, 
hearts connect and friendships form...
and I find myself "SEEing" with a different set of eyes...

when it's all said and done, 
whether everyone thinks they look fantastic in a picture or not...
the truth is, 
a memory has been made..
time has been spent that otherwise might have been in front of a TV or cleaning house...
but instead, 
hands were held, 
hugs were given, 
laughs were heard...

THIS is why I do what I do...

relationships are worth the effort!!!


Spotlight on my Girlfriends

If you missed it on Monday, I posted a BLOG about my niece and her besties...and it made me happy inside...

Friendships have that affect!

On that same day, I found myself in the waiting room of a hospital while one of my besties was draped in a hospital gown awaiting the nurse to call her back for her MRI. And it hit me, like it has a gazillion times before...just how grateful I am for my friends...how much I love them!

I'm a relational person by nature...and I'm clingy and loyal...basically, if you give me the okay to call you one of my closest friends, girl, you better be ready to be STUCK.FOR.LIFE.

My husband jokes that I get so clingy sometimes that he wonders if I want to just shrink myself down to miniature and just fit in his pocket.

I know this can be "high maintenance" for some...and that is precisely why I value these girlfriends so very much...I'm more than a "handful" sometimes...I can be dump truck-ful for heaven's sake and they offer such grace and patience...

and I love them for it!

I thought I'd showcase a few of my friends for you...These are the 3 that I tend to "bug" the most, so I'll start with them, but I have a handful more that I would also consider sisters of my heart...I'll save those introductions for a later date.

First comes AnneMarie

She's my CRAZY other half...the one that doesn't just watch me be ridiculous, but she joins right in...peeing pants and laughing hysterically included!  I used to think that we were identical, but as we've grown closer, I've become more aware of her introverted nature, her grace giving and generous spirit...these are all things that I am drawn to because they are my opposites and it makes sense why we are so close!

However, she does have a WILD side...you just have to tap into it...but beware, she can whoop it up with the best of them and once she gets going...hang on for the ride!

She is the one that is constantly teaching me about grace.  She honestly thinks of others more than herself all the time...infact, I am the one that becomes the "mama bear" ready to rip anyone to shreds that dares to mess with her or take advantage of her sweet spirit.  But, she is quick to remind me of God's sacrifice and as I listen to her, I'm convicted once again and so grateful for the truth she so often just LIVES OUT as an example to me.

Next up is Sara

I was so going to put her middle name on here but she'd totally kill me...
Sara is another opposite personality friend...and  I mean just about opposite ends of the spectrum...
She's organized, introverted, thoughtful, methodical in her thinking, likes a plan...this is all contrary to my messy, extroverted, spontaneous crazy...but she gets me!

We taught together...as in, IN THE SAME CLASSROOM TEAM TAUGHT after college...it was basically hilarious!  We had the MOST AWESOME classroom and if life could be lived that way all the time...well, then WOOT WOOT!

She lost her dad as a teenager and therefore, in college when I was struggling after losing my sister...when I was mad at God and the world...she didn't judge, she didn't try to give me a quick fix, she didn't "expect" anything...she just walked with me, encouraged me, listened to my roller coaster of emotions...I'm sure I wore her out, but she never wavered nor gave up on me...

And not only that, she keeps me accountable at the same time.  I have friends in my life that I love, but we aren't afraid to disagree or call each other out.  And I can't tell you how thankful I am for that...Oh sure, you can choose to only spend time with people that are just like you, that agree with everything you do...and you can fool yourself into thinking that you'll be happier this way...
but, there is a verse that says, "Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" ...this is what relationships were meant to be...to grow one another...not to reach a pinnacle of popularity or model status...not just to party and be happy...that's not our purpose here in this life...our greater purpose is a million times more satisfying & amazing as we invest in people's lives and grow to be the individuals we were created to become!

Sara doesn't attack a problem the same way that I do...nor has she agreed with my emotional summation of situations from time to time...She lets me vent, she lets me "get it out" and then she "sets me straight"...in her kind, gentle and teacher way...reminding me that life isn't all about ME.

Her heart is amazing and I know that I can trust her with mine...OH these incredible life long friends that I've been given...we've been friends for over 20 years...I hate that she lives so far from me now...I wish we could be neighbors...but, since we aren't, we vacation together at every chance that we get...because we both know how much friends build into our lives and we value our time together!

Finally, for this round at least, is Laurie

Guess what?  she's another opposite...she also happens to be my brother's wife...which explains the opposite thing (especially if you know my brother & me)

I love her...not just because she married my brother, although...KUDOS TO YOU GIRL!  Lord knows you have to have a huge heart and a LOT of patience to marry one of us!!!

The thing that I cherish most about Laurie is the fact that she just accepts me just how I am...I know I can totally drive her nuts (I'm a talker, like my brother...and when you get both of us jabberin' your ears off...well...) I vent to her, I throw crazy questions at her, I totally spring things on her last minute...and she takes it all in stride...she has a way of making you feel like you're the most important thing in the world when you talk with her...she stops everything to listen...even as my family invades her house and there is seemingly chaos all around...she has a calming effect on all with whom she comes in contact.

And oh how she loves my girls...they adore their Aunt Laurie...they know that when Mommy & Uncle Don get a little fired up and start into their "remember when..." talks...they can go to Aunt Laurie and get a little dose of sanity again.

Who are your best friends? What makes them click so well with you?  Are you opposites as well? Does he or she "sharpen" you?

Hope you have a fantastic weekend...give your bestie a hug or a phone call...let them know how much you appreciate them!


September Time Slots 2015

WOOHOO!  I finally received my daughters' sports schedules and can work around their games/practices for photo sessions!  YIPPEE! 

Email me with your 1st & 2nd choice to ctphotomemories@gmail.com and I'll do my best to get you on the calendar. (first come/first serve basis)

Here are the time slots still available after having emailed my past clients that inquired and also early inquiry people from the summer!  I will post for October around "mid september" time frame...

If you are a past client and would like "first dibs" on when I open my October slots, and aren't already receiving my early inquiry emails, please email me asap so that I can get you on my list!  ctphotomemories@gmail.com

I will contact you with regards to location a few days prior to your session, and also give you my cell phone, etc...

Senior sessions:  You will need to choose 2 back to back time slots...
I'm most familiar with the Delaware area, but I've had SO much fun with many of my Senior's ideas...let's be sure to chat ahead of time..

You can also check my PINTEREST boards for clothing ideas, etc...
Stay tuned on INSTAGRAM for sneak peeks, contests, etc...



Wednesday, September 9th
                                             6:00 Fette Family
                                             7:00 Sutton Family

Friday, September 11th
                                   6:15 ____________ OPEN SNAG IT FAST!!!

Saturday, September 12th
                                       8:15 -10:15 am Justine Clark SENIOR session
Sunday, September 13th
                                         5:00 Pick Family
                                         5:45-7:45pm Nate McCloskey SENIOR session

Monday, September 14th
                                          2:00 Curtis Family
                                          4:30-6:30 Libby Laubert SENIOR session (may adjust time)

Friday, September 18th
                                           10:30 am Poelzer Family Pictures                                                                      
                                           6:05  Emily Baker Children session

Saturday, September 19th
                                          4pm Geiseler FULL Family
                                          5:20 Aikens Family
                                          6:10  Bratslovsky Family
Sunday, September 20th
                                         8:30 am ______________________
                                         9:15 am Hadley Family

                                         4:30 pm Malloy Family
                                         5:15-7:15pm Jessica Meldrum SENIOR session (may adjust time depending                                                                                                                           on sunlight)

Tuesday, September 22nd
                                        6:00pm  Grady Family
                                        6:45pm Wachalec Family

Thursday, September 24th
                                        7:00 Mangum Family
Friday, September 25th
                                        6:05 Clous Family

Saturday, September 26th
                                        4:00pm Butler Family
                                        4:45pm Montgomery FULL family session
                                        6:15 pm Vicars Family

Sunday, September 27th
                                       8:30 am Hall Family
                                       9:15am Kreps Family
                                       4pm Rinehart Family
Monday, September 28th
                                      4:30-6:30 Natalie Senior Session


Beautiful Light Night

I do know that the "setting" of a story can have a heavy impact on the narrative. 

If you read about a wedding ceremony that takes place in a circus ring as opposed to a cathedral, you definitely are imagining a "different" ambiance, if you will...

At the same time, I know that good authors, no matter the setting, can develop characters and set up the scene in such a way that you are captivated!  Along with that, setting, when used correctly, can actually "add to" the depth of a story...

I believe it's the same with photography...

When "telling a story" for a family session, I will use the setting to my advantage so that I can add to their narrative being told...it's not always necessary, mind you...having a focus on relationships and personalities, you don't need "a lot" to to enhance what is already a twinkle in the eyes of a little sister or a Mommy loving on her baby boy!

This is an athletic, outdoors family...they enjoy their sports and running and outdoor play...therefore, this setting played a major role in capturing their family.  I wish I could just share their entire gallery!

The light happened to be shining bright this evening as well...and we even met a fishman nearby who found me later on Instagram...you'll have to look him up HERE  He was actually there that evening with fishin' pole in hand, spending time with his kids...

again, "setting" playing a big role in his narrative too!

I love their enthusiasm and energetic natures...they value their time together and capturing the essence of their relationships through play and loving on one another...

I think you'll "SEE" as you scroll through some of their images...


Family Time at the Park

It's got to be daunting to show up at a location, not having met the person that is going to be IN.YOUR.FACE. with a camera...to plan to invest money, time, energy and basically bribe your kiddos to "pleasesmileforthecamerasowecangogeticecreamandnothaveabreakdownhereinthepark"

Okay...so, maybe not everyone feels this way, but, I almost feel like I would if I were in your shoes...My girls are all different personalities...and when they were younger, oh my goodness, each one of them were unpredictable...

would they be shy?
would they start to cry?
would they obey and cooperate?

My goal during a session is to let YOU be YOU...at the same time, I'm not just sitting back and forcing you to come up with your norm to photograph...I become an active participant...(this is why I may come in jeans or shorts...as I've been known to walk through mud or rivers, climb trees and roll in the grass) 

I know this is a little "out of the comfort zone" for some...and therefore, I want to make it the best experience possible for your family!

These twin girls were different as night and day...and we wanted to showcase their personalities...differences & alike-ness

I loved their energy, the playfulness, the BEing...Mom & Dad caught on fast that it's about capturing moments, not just a smile... 

and yet, those still came out ;) 


Shine, Girl, Shine

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, 
and she laughs without fear of the future. 
When she speaks, her words are wise, 
and she gives instructions with kindness."

PROVERBS 31: 25-26

This verse is hanging in my daughter's room.  I painted the canvas a couple years ago when she entered Middle School and we were giving her room a makeover...I wanted her to know WHO she is and hopefully spur her on to be WHO she was to become...

...like Jesus!

The middle school years can be tough to navigate...there are a lot of changes going on...and girls this age think a lot more deeply about things than we often give them credit...They are watchful and take everything in...They can laugh so hard that they cry...and they can cry so hard, that they don't think they can take another breath...so deep are the emotions that flow...

I've done sessions like this with my daughters many times...and I love them...not just because it's FUN...duh!!!  But, it's a time where WHO they are starts to shine...little glimpses of the choices they will make...small steps towards independence...

For my niece's birthday, I decided I'd do a little session for her as well...with a couple school friends...to commemorate her last year of middle school...

I've shared lots of single images on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK...

I thought you'd enjoy this video slideshow to see the whole "story"!

Happy Birthday Kendel...you know Aunt Colleen loves ya!


What Goes Through a Photographer's Mind before a Photo Shoot

Do you ever wonder what other people are thinking when you meet them?

Has anyone seen the movie Inside Out?  I know, it was such a middle school girl flick...but, having all princesses...WE LOVED IT!!!

I tend to "think" with my emotions half the time anyway...so it was totally relate-able!

So, I thought I'd let you in on what is going on in my head from the moment I leave my house, to meeting a family or senior at a photo session location, through the session and then coming home...

Disclaimer: please note that these are completely random thoughts that go through my brain...and you should also know that although I have had this business for over 6 years now, I STILL get butterflies everytime I head to a new session...

Welcome to my own INSIDE OUT...

"I better check the weather again just to be sure everything is okay."
"It says 40% chance of rain, but yesterday it said 0% and there was a tsunami in my backyard!"
"I hate making decisions"
"I wonder if I have enough gas in my van"

"I really hope there isn't poison ivy growing anywhere near where we're going today"
"Did I eat dinner?"
"what shoes can I wear that won't hurt my feet, but that I can climb in the water if I need to?"
"What shirt can I wear that will cover the amount of perspiration that WILL occur while I'm running around like a crazy person...oh hey, I"ll just load up on perfume!  woohoo!"
"Am I hungry?...seriously, when did I last eat?"

"Did I remember my camera?"
"Does my camera have a card in it?"
"Where did I put my wallet?"
"I really hope they like me.."
"Did I bring a ponytail holder?"
"I really hope it doesn't rain..."
"I've got a 15 minute drive and my adrenaline is pumping...who can I call???"

"I've got to remember to STOP taking pictures, they don't want to be here all day...holy cow, they are beautiful!"
"My niece & her friends are going to go CRAZY when they see this senior pic!"
"don't trip, don't trip, don't trip"
"it's just a snake, it's nature, don't scream...deep breaths...it's going to be okay"
"my blood must be sweet cuz these mosquitos are LOVING me"
"I really hope they can't tell that I'm sweating like a pig, but I don't even care because THE PICTURES!!!"
"I have too many ideas and my brain won't stop...one thing at time, girl...don't start talkin' crazy!"
"I really hope they don't think I'm too weird..."
"Am I always this talkative?"

"now THAT is why I LOVE photography"
"Thank you Jesus for calling me to this!"
"I just met some more kindred spirits"
"I can not wait to get these pictures on the computer to post!"
"I think I deserve a Starbucks!"


A Legacy is Growing

This post has been a longgggg time coming!

There are less than a handful of 2014 sessions that I need to finish up blogging...it's because they are so special and I want the right words to adequately support the images that "tell the story"...

This family has been special to me for a VERY long time...

let me give you a "brief" back story!!!

I met Molly's husband as a sophomore at Cedarville College (now University..cuz I'm really that old) He was the van driver that took me to the church I chose to attend that year over in Hilliard.  It was a haul from the campus, but I loved it and would do his rounds to pick up all the students each Sunday morning and then bring us back after service or after lunch...I don't believe he and Molly were even dating at that time...however Molly was the Australia team that my roommate was on that year...there was another connection...

Kara was in my dorm hall my sophomore year (and I think Junior year too)...I remember seeing her in the hallway talking on the phone to her future hubby...a big ole basketball star!!!  She was also in my elementary education classes...so we passed each other often...I always admired her confidence and gracious nature about her...

It's funny however, because Christy became the one that I connected the most with and I didn't even know her in college...I actually knew her husband, Steve...who happened to be the best friend of a guy that I considered my big brother (and we fought as such, but that's another story)

Their "little" brother has a connection through my sister-in-law, who taught him back in the day...

Soooo...I can imagine that you've determined that there are LOTS of connections at this point...so when they have big family gatherings and they welcome me into the fold...well, I just feel like an extended part of the family...I get hugged and joked with and still picked on by Steve!!

This "party" was a surprise for their Dad...

I appreciate their desire to pass on a legacy for their children...

Yes, it's about celebrating and laughing and having fun...being together...

But, it's also about recognizing the character qualities in their patriarchs and wanting the grandchildren to SEE that value...

I loved that at the end of the party, Grandpa sat them all down to bestow on them a few words of wisdom...there wasn't wiggling or whining or complaining...there is a respect and awe for this man that has shaped and guided this family through the years...

It is an honor to know them...and to love them all!!!


Year One Lifestyle: Baby Boy

I've recently transitioned into a more relaxed "newborn" photography style...

I'm calling it "Year One Lifestyle"...

The first 12 months of a newbie's is full of changes...CONSTANTLY...

I've watched my daughters look through their scrapbooks...many, many, many times...and I found that they get "caught" on the pages that show their little "selves" interacting with other family members...

It wasn't about the cute poses and perfect blankets or wraps...they want to see mommy and daddy in their pictures...they want to see big sisters kissing and holding them...they want to recognize their nursery and special stuffed animals...

If you read recently, my attempt to verbalize my "purpose" in this photography business...you'll SEE that it's more about an image for me...it's about BEing IN moments and capturing relationships...

I was very thankful to meet this family and that they understood and appreciated this new perspective...

I know that we love to pose those little bodies and we did get a couple with special trinkets that were passed down from generations...but my favorites are the ones that put all the "story elements" together to tell his little "narrative" of his first few weeks of life...

His mommy was such a trooper...battling through feeling poorly, because she knew that moments are fleeting...she still looked amazingly beautiful...it's that Mommy Glow!

I think you'll enjoy as well...


Blog Archive

How can I reach you?

The best way to contact me is either through Facebook Messaging or emailing me at ctphotomemories@gmail.com

I can't wait to hear from you!
"Teach us to number our days, (savor the moments) so that we may gain a heart of wisdom" ~Psalm 90:12

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